If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Few Memories

I use nurse characters in my short stories and novels because nursing is a profession I know. After hearing the way nurses and nursing are sometimes described, I feel compelled to defend my choice.

Nurses are not would-be doctors or women too stupid to become doctors. I have a MA and a MS degree. Nurses who put up with abusive criticism from patients and their families are not naturally submissive and unable to be assertive about their individual rights. A new nurse soon learns that a drag-out argument with a sick person in pain, and with that person’s family, will produce a bad outcome for all concerned. Nurses are aware that there are other less female-dominated professions. Usually, if a person stays in nursing beyond five years, it is because that person likes nursing and thinks it’s a worthwhile job.

In the middle of the night, attending physicians, residents, and interns are sleeping. If you have a heart attack, a brain bleed, your wound bursts open, or you develop a high fever, the nurse has to notice that and bring you the help you need. When the nurse wakes up the doctor on call, often someone low in the medical hierarchy system, the doctor doesn’t always respond graciously or with enthusiasm. Sometimes the doctor will say a groggy hello and hang up. Sometimes the doctor asks a nurse if she’s sure. Often doctors are rude. (What is said in the first three minutes after waking up doesn’t count). Since the nurse knows the patient is in danger, he/she has to persist against the opposition assertively.

One night, when I worked the night shift in a large, urban hospital, three people arrived on the floor and one of them had a gun. They were the relatives of a woman killed by a pimp who was at the moment a patient on my unit. The relatives intended to kill the pimp. The three nurses working that shift had to stop the gunman wandering the unit and looking for his intended victim. Sleeping patients under bedclothes resemble each other. The intruder could easily have shot the wrong person. Luckily, we had a red panic button at the desk to summon security.

I remember when AIDS took three months to diagnose and was often a death sentence. Universal precautions to protect patients and staff were instituted after the epidemic started. None of the nurses working with these early, very sick patients contracted HIV. Accidental needle sticks were the most common way for a staff member to be infected with the virus.

Patients who lopped off their fingers while logging in the Maine woods could have their fingers re-attached in a fifteen hour surgery. Nurses had to check the re-attached fingers every fifteen minutes for twelve hours and then every thirty minutes for the next twelve hours. The fingers of non-smokers were less likely to turn cold and blue.

After open heart surgery, patients returned to the intensive care unit, hypothermic, unable to breathe on their own, and subject to heart arrhythmias. The patients were constantly monitored and nurses often didn’t leave the bedside, not for nourishment or to pee. After a nurse spilled her can of soda on the monitoring equipment, we were not allowed to drink even water at the bedside. I remember a frequent flyer for bypass surgery, a restaurant owner who liked his cooking too much. I remember the firemen who received information from doctors and nurses about the causes of their heart disease. After the adrenaline rush of putting out a fire, the firemen would often sit around talking about the experience as they smoked and ate greasy foods.

Above all, I remember all the people I met and their innumerable ways of coping with the crises in their lives.

7 comments:

Warren Bull said...

I have no doubt that I owe my life to nurses.

E. B. Davis said...

After my husband's operations, I concluded that most nurses' workloads are too large. On the surgical floor, most patients are on intervenous fluids/meds. Just getting every patient's vitals and and keeping up with their meds is about all the nurses could do. The assistants do most of the personal care, but that was lacking. Family has to provide most of that care.

I can't imagine having a gunman show up at the hospital.

Pauline Alldred said...

Unfortunately,Elaine, due to the bad publicity nurses often receive (female-dominated, bedpan carrier, etc) nursing is not a prime choice for young people. In the last 10 or so years, nursing programs have been trying desperately to recruit nursing students. The first 25 years of my career, I did all care, personal and otherwise because that was how I could make an assessment of the patient's condition. Now, I guess, there are those who think RN's shouldn't be involved in basic care. A case of fashion dominating common sense.

Dee Hendershot Gatrell said...

When my husband had colon cancer surgery 10 years ago, two days before he was released, they put a young man who was shot in a drug deal into his room.
Along with him came about 40 or 50 family members and some were little kids. The kids (after I left) sat on his bed, hit his bed and were noisy.
When I went in the next day and learned my husband would be released, the nurses said they told the family not to return until the next evening after my husband was out.
They said the kid shot, a member of a gang, was a big whiner. His family trashed the family waiting room constantly. We couldn't even use it.
The nurses were great and overworked.

Kaye George said...

My mom was a nurse and I know what they go through! It gives you tons of material, Pauline!

Pauline Alldred said...

As though being sick in hospital wasn't bad enough, you can end up with a roommate who makes everything worse, Dee. I'm glad the nurses were able to help.

Material forever, Kaye. I used to picture the patients in my care in their rooms and it's as though I have a spiral staircase with balconies of rooms with people going down and down. No wonder I have such a bad time with names now. The slots are full.

LisaAnn said...

Just made it over from GoodReads, and I'm looking forward to exploring your blog some more! :)